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Acting is Activism

Modern drama grew out of the dramatising by amateur actors of Bible stories.  Mediaeval mystery plays were Christian propaganda and none the worse for it.  Great drama has sprung from great causes: from Ibsen and Arthur Miller to Marin Sherman's Bent

Scripts with a mission aren't always successful but I've often been attracted to a part because a good point is being made amidst the theatrical or cinematic virtues of the rest of the script.

I have performed to benefit various charities, raising money or awareness.  This once overlapped with my professional work, when a "one night only" revival of Bent became the 10th anniversary production at the National Theatre followed by a run in the West End.

Ian McKellen
July 2008



18 December 1988 Ian McKellen, David Kernan, Ned Sherrin, Keith Waterhouse, Judi Dench, Alan Bates, and Michael Williams
H.R.H. Prince Edward [Patron], Simon Dutton [ex-member], Ian McKellen [Vice Chairman] at fundraiser for National Youth Theatre of Great Britain
Ian McKellen with US Congressman Barney Frank, Los Angeles 2006


Scripts with a Mission
Acting for Charity


1990: Out With Your Lies
"Silence at Court - McKellen warns of a new sensation". That was the Evening Standard's headline when Michael Owen interviewed me 11 years ago, as Bent was about to have its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre. Read More

1992: Outing Old Stage Frights
Ian McKellen reviews "Not In Front of The Audience", by Nicholas de Jongh. Read More

2000: A Gay Gandalf
Homophobia is Everywhere. Read More